This weekend we celebrate the Feast of the Holy Family. Veneration of the Holy Family was formally begun in the 1800’s by St. François de Laval, the 1st bishop of New France, who founded a Confraternity. The Feast of the Holy Family is in honor of Jesus, Mary, and  Joseph, as the ‘holy family’. The primary purpose of this feast is to present the Holy Family as a model for Christian families, and  is held on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Both Matthew and Luke narrate the episodes from this period of Christ’s life, namely his Circumcision,  the Presentation in the Temple, the Flight out of their native land into Egypt, the Return to Nazareth, and then the Finding in the Temple of the 12 year old Jesus.  Joseph and Mary were observant Jews, as Luke narrates, that they brought Jesus with them on the annual pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem, traveling along  with other Jewish families.

The feast was instituted by Pope Leo VIII in 1893 and set on the Sunday within the Octave of the Feast of the Epiphany; that is to say, on the Sunday between January 7 through January 13th. On this weekend as we approach the Altar to receive the Holy Eucharist, the body, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, let us bring to prayer our own families, asking God’s divine favor upon them into the New Year. Let us also pray for family members who maybe experiencing some tragedy or who are facing difficulties, that they may feel the presence of God and be consoled and lifted up.

This week we celebrate the Feast of Mary, Mother of God, with a Vigil Mass on December 31st at 4:00pm and on the New Year’s Day with Masses at 7:30am and 10:00am. I look forward to seeing you at Mass and beginning our New Year in the very presence of the Risen Lord.  This day is a Holy Day of Obligation, so try do your best to attend.

A word of thanks to all are Lectors, Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, Ushers and Altar Servers who helped at the Christmas Masses. A word of thanks to all those who have contributed to the Clergy Benefit Trust Collection on Christmas Eve and Day. As we are submitting the bulletins early during the month of December we have been unable to print, timely, the collection amounts. Next week we will provide the amount raised for the Christmas Collection. We have also received a number of year-end Grand Annual gifts, all of which are in generous amounts; and so a word of thanks and reminder to those who have yet to make a gift, please consider doing so by the end of this year.

As we ring in the New Year, let us know if you would like to have a Mass intentioned for your loved one, or if you would like to sponsor the wine and candles for the month. Let us pray for one another in this New Year.  Happy New Year!